Last week I attend Academic Success’ workshop titled Strategies to Reduce Stress, Increase Motivation, and Achieve Your Goals. The tips and links that were given in the workshop were things such as:
First, identify difficulties and sources of stress such as imposter syndrome. Then:
- make a schedule (for as far ahead as possible aka know that you have an essay due on Dec 10)
- balance sleep, school, social
- use the assignment calculator
- make an appointment with Academic Success
- make an appointment with Health and Wellness
- attend workshops to feel motivated
- use a meditation app
- try ”tapping” meditation to calm thoughts
In my experience, no matter how much I plan and manage time, there is no way to avoid the pile up of stress that comes from midterm and exam season. After the workshop I started thinking about my own strategies for dealing with stress and motivation–ones that work sometimes but not always. I wanted to figure out where I was going wrong. Then, coincidentally my friend recommended to me The Burnout Society by Byung-Chul Han, which is a theory about why people get stressed. It was perfect timing.
I’ve only just started reading it, but I’ve managed to pinpoint my stress factor!
The book explains that we are often stressed because we seek positivity from others. The only way to be happy is to find success, specifically success that is recognized by others. However, that means people cannot find happiness without outside validation, and that makes success something to be stressed about.
I realized that yeah, I do think like this. I assume that the higher my academic marks are then the happier I will be. That’s why I get so worried about performing well.
So then I asked myself: How can I feel happy without outside validation? What do I do just for myself?
There’s only one thing I could come up with. I’ve kept a journal for most of my life. It’s something that makes me feel successful without having someone else see it as an accomplishment. I don’t share my journals, and I never plan to. And yet, I write in them constantly. I’ve also continuously recognized that my stress levels decrease when I journal.
It took a pandemic to realize this, but that’s because our society is all about go-go-go, and once you accomplish something, you must do something next. There is no limit to what you think you can achieve, and for that reason, we don’t stop. But that’s what leads to stress.
It’s okay to press pause; that’s when you appreciate yourself and how far you’ve come.